Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Farewell to Blogger

Hey guys!

So after much debate and wondering and input, I have decided to move my writing over to Wordpress to allow for making certain posts private. The more I think about it, the less certain I get about the wisdom of making pictures of my beautiful children available to the internet.

Thus, has begun! At this point there is nothing private, but there will be, and when that happens you can email me for the password, or leave a comment here and I will get in touch with you.

It's been real, Blogger, and I wish you had the private features of Wordpress, because, HELLO, learning new blogging platforms is hard! Happy trails to me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

To The Nines

This is dedicated to the man that allowed me to start calling him ‘Husband’ on the day that we were married. The same man that has allowed it to progress to Hubby, Hubbykins, Hubbers, HubbyMcWubberson, you get the idea. Let’s just say it feels weird when I call him just ‘Ian.’ He’s a keeper.

Today is our ninth anniversary. I considered commemorating this day by writing nine things I love about Ian, or nine things that drive me crazy about him, or sharing nine of my favorite hairs on his head, or some other such things relatable to the number nine. But, nine things I loved seemed too easy and I couldn’t possibly reveal nine things that drive me crazy since I can hardly come up with one ;). So I have settled upon nine memories that stand out to me over the course of our nine years together.

First, the prologue. This doesn’t count toward the nine memories because I am making the rules. There was a night we shared before we were married, perhaps before we were engaged (but who could know for sure?), that I will never forget. I was having one of those days when I hated every inch of myself. I was the wrong size, the wrong shape, and I was so frustrated with it all that I had come to tears while enjoying a starry evening with my beau on his balcony. He was adamant that I was beautiful, I was adamant perfectly opposite. Frustrated with my persistence, Ian got down on his knees and forced me to look into his face while he proclaimed (with much fervor) how perfect I was through and through. Up to that point, I had never so readily believed someone when they told me I was beautiful. The sincerity in his eyes was unmistakable. It is a memory I love because of how much he loved me. How genuinely he wanted to protect my heart from my own self-destruction. The best part is I am a far cry from the hottie I was then, and still I hear at least once everyday, with all the sincerity in the world, how beautiful I am.

Ok, on to the married memories.. I promise they are not all quite so sappy :)

Year 1. Upland, Indiana was home, and home was too quiet. Our only options for companionship were birds or fish and fish weren’t cuddly enough. We settled on a bird hunt and found one at a garden store not too far away. He was a silky white cockatiel and was crazy as a foaming possum. Let’s just say had we done our research, we might have purchased a hand-raised bird. I will never forget riding in Ian’s Nissan 300ZX with that bird scratching and shrieking trying to escape from the dainty, brown cardboard box on my lap. Undeterred, we spent the ride home coming up with a name for him (her? We still don’t really know). We passed a road sign that said ‘Hamilton’ and I was sold. It was perfect! Ian thought so too, but if you ask him, Hamilton was named for Patrick Hamilton, the martyr. And that, my friends, pretty much sums up the difference between Ian and myself. I still get warm fuzzy feelings when I think of our crazy, sweet Hamilton.

Year 2. Perhaps the most poignant memory this year was when Ian told me he got in to St Andrews for his master’s degree. I was on a mission trip in Mexico, so received the news via a short pay phone call, and spent the rest of the trip wondering where on earth life was taking us. However, my favorite times to think back on from this year are those that we spent together in the art building at Taylor University. Being the weirdo married couple living on a college campus, Ian was around a lot though he was not a student. Most of my work had to be done in the art building, so he often came with me and I loved every minute of it. I loved how easily he talked to my peers and professors. I loved that he was there with me, knowing that part of my life. I love the memories I have of him working just as hard as I did to finish framing and setting up all the artwork for my senior exhibition.

Year 3. Hello change! Neither of us had ever moved further than Upland, Indiana, and here we were moving to a different country. A little over a month after we moved, still in the throes of culture shock and insecurity, I remember getting the news that my grandma had died. I remember feeling so shocked and numb. I thought she was getting better. It was the beginning of the end of my childhood utopia of trips to grandma and grandpa’s house. The expected. The norm. It was changing. I didn’t know how to handle it, so I took the longest shower of my life and cried a lot. Ian was there. He cried with me, he remembered with me, he helped me sort out a plane ticket so I could be with my family to grieve the loss of my loving, feisty grandma. He probably got me a drink of water, too, since that’s what he does when someone is crying. That was the beginning of a tough year that pushed us to burrow into one another, to trust Jesus, and to soak up the sun and the rain alike.

Year 4. This was the year that we took a little getaway to Glencoe for the weekend following our American Thanksgiving celebration. It was our first time hiring a car. A car that we barely fit into. I remember marveling at how easily Ian could reach over and touch my window, and the fear (that I would mess up his driving) wrapped in giggles every time he hit my leg as he shifted. It was Ian’s first time driving on the left, but it was not the first time he impressed me with his readiness to handle what is thrown at him. We saw the Northern Lights, we got to drive and hike in snow, we got lost together so many times, we marveled at the incredible scenery and the difference between the east and west coasts, we did what married couples do on getaways and then we had a baby.

Year 5. This was the year that we learned that having a baby is not all it’s cracked up to be. Obviously, a sentiment we recovered from. I remember my first attempt to drag myself out of bed after bringing our ‘bundle of joy’ home from the hospital the day before. There had been no sleep. My eyes were burning, my body was exhausted, I turned and look at my husband’s bloodshot eyes and found he was thinking the same thing I was. What have we done?? In our sleep-deprived short-sightedness, we were pretty sure our lives were ruined forever. Happily, we were very wrong. Ian was ingenious at figuring the baby thing out. Someone told him crumpling a chip bag could quell the screaming. When that stopped working, he found a giant trash bag and made all the ruckus he could until our ‘little angel’ was asleep. I hope I never forget watching him desperately flapping that black trash bag around in our first son’s tiny bedroom.

Year 6. Ok so it is harder than I thought to only pick ONE memory from each year. We do so many things each year! In year 6 we drove across Europe, spent 5 weeks apart while Ian studied at Rutgers, had another baby, I mean, come on. I remember our first time leaving Aed completely and going SO far away to Edinburgh :). The Tattoo started at 10pm so it was a very late excursion. I remember feeling giddy with excitement that we were FREE! We were alone, just the two of us, going out somewhere without our son. Don’t get me wrong, I loved our son and I loved going places with him, but the feeling of being by ourselves was irreplaceable. We had next to nothing to carry and could go anywhere or do anything on a whim. We could be LOUD. I remember thinking we were getting old as we struggled to enjoy something that started at 10pm because we were so tired. I remember feeling so happy and refreshed as I enjoyed such an experience with my favorite person in the world. Focusing only on him.

Year 7.  We left Scotland, I ran a half marathon, Ian got a job and graduated. Another full year. I remember when he left to return to Scotland to teach a class and defend his thesis. We were living with my parents during our in between, full of hope for a job. We made a paper chain so the boys could see how many sleeps were left before we saw Daddy again. I remember hanging those little circles while feeling like it may as well have been a year before we would see him again. I remember my eyes filling with tears as he told me about his visits to places that meant so much to us, visits with people that I loved and missed. I remember the phone call to tell me that he had passed. The joy and thankfulness we felt. I remember making ‘Dr. Daddy’ signs to greet him at the airport. I remember the way it felt to see him again, to feel so proud of my husband and what he had done, to watch my big boy run to his daddy with such joy, to see my husband’s face full of life and light as we relished in the possibilities.

Year 8. A cross-country move to a place that promised sunshine and sand, then delivered it, along with sweltering heat and earthquakes. Earthquakes. I am not the worrier in our family. Ian takes care of that unfalteringly. Anxiety is a very real experience for him. I can’t say why, but moving to a place that threatened earthquakes at any time really ate away at my mind. I found myself constantly trying to figure out how to handle an earthquake in each place we went, so heavily burdened by being responsible for my helpless children’s safety. I remember realizing one morning how consumed I was by this fear, by the worst-case-scenarios that were becoming a constant in my consciousness. That night as we went to bed I tearfully confessed to my husband how much I was struggling – how I had no idea how to handle it, and I remember so clearly feeling like I finally understood, just a tiny bit, what he deals with all the time. He was so ready to comfort and help me, so experienced with such a burden. He knew.

Year 9. My most constant memory and feeling this year has been awe. My moments to reflect and sit with my own thoughts are few and fleeting, but every once in a while I catch a glimmer of the amazement that lies in my spirit, down underneath the diapers and worries and peanut butter smears and bubble blowing. We moved across the country again and this year has carried a theme of provision. Things we didn’t even think to ask for we were given. Things that have made this place such a rest and refreshment for our family. Our home is just that, a home. It is not a tiny apartment, it is not filled with the goods of strangers, we have made it ours. Most every day, I have awakened to the presence of my husband lying next to me. I have ended each day with an ‘I love you.’  I have watched my husband love our children, I have thrown my hands up with him as we gave up trying to figure out how to fix yet another situation. I have given thanks for his steadiness, his patience, his willingness to do and do and do. My favorite memory, right now, was waking up to his smile this morning as he reminded me that it was our anniversary. The feeling that washed over me as I knew, even with all the mundane and monotony, today would be a special day. Maybe there aren’t enough years in a life for me to feel like I’ve gotten sufficient time with my husband, I can’t say yet. But I can say that nine isn’t enough :). I am eternally grateful for the man I have been given to share my life with. Happy anniversary, Hubbywubbyshmubbykins.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


(Disclaimer: The photos in this post are recent, but completely unrelated to the text and were not taken today. They are just for funsies.)

It was one of those days. The kind where before you even open your eyes in the morning you are longing for bedtime. The kind that rolls you around and spits you out on the other side of exhaustion. A typical day full of everything and nothing, clouded by a haze of bleary.

We stayed up late getting papers ready for tax-doing. In the end most of it didn’t matter anyway. Isn’t that just the way it goes?

Ari slept enough last night that I found myself checking on him to make sure he was still breathing on more than one occasion. Forfeiting my benefit from his sleep, I was able to groggily retrieve him from his crib this morning knowing he would live to see another day. The worry always seems so silly when the sun is shining on it. 

I'm pretty sure the bigger two joined me in bed at some point before I dragged myself out of it. Oh yes, they sat on the end of the bed ‘reading’ books to each other. This is a new development and I adore it. I can’t even try to hide my smile when I catch them sitting together somewhere with their books.

I looked at my children closely so many times today. Straight into their eyes, longing for them to know how deeply I love them. I stare into their growing-up faces and am amazed at how the changes catch me off guard. Every day I look at them, love them, kiss them, and still it catches me off guard.

I visited the dentist this morning to happily discover that I will make my goal of no cavities before I turn 30. (Let’s see if we can make it to 31!) I promised the dentist I wouldn’t brag to Ian about it. Then I came home and told him, so maybe I failed?

My visit to the dentist was entirely without children. By myself. No one else. To the dentist, but still, the lack of weight in my arms and effort in my being from hauling my precious cargo around was noted and appreciated.

I told my husband how tired I was about 28 times before 11am. He still loves me. He’s a keeper.

My heart hurt a little when one of my children made a mistake. A small one in the scheme of things, but I long so much to understand why he does what he does. I thought about it until I got distracted.

I watched my babiest of babies throw smiles my way willy-nilly any time he caught my eye. He has a major crush on his mama and it is adorable. If eating him would really quench this need I have to love on him, I might just do it. 

I pushed through the motions of making lunch, sat and listened to my little clowns in their goofy banter, requested that one return to his chair to eat his blueberries, gave a thought to my thankfulness for those very berries, put a baby to bed, then put a little boy to bed. The bigger boy got to watch a little extra today in hopes that I might get to pass my burdens on to the open arms of my own bed. The baby needed a cuddle. The phone buzzed. There was a little sleep, but as I have learned, rest is almost as good as sleep.

Am I the only one that craves chocolate with great intensity when I am tired? Sometimes I really do think it might be worth it to learn to like coffee. Then I remember how it makes me cringe and remain steadfast that it will never be worth it. I ate one too many chocolate chips via the too many items in our pantry containing chocolate chips at the moment. I considered doing some situps. Tomorrow I will do them. Today doesn’t need situps, it needs a loving teaspoon of Just Enough.

I read to my big boy and didn’t fall asleep. Victory. Our baby joined us part way through.

Every time I saw my husband I thanked. He is a steady undercurrent in each day and we all have a crush on him. He is well adored. (Unless, of course, he is casting a stern gaze on our eldest. Then he is avoided rather than adored. One of the perils of being a four-year-old still learning the ropes.)

I reveled in the chaos of our three boys and their noise. I wondered at them and loved their antics. I reminded Ian how tired I was. I felt the 28 previous mentions just didn’t suffice. I enjoyed listening to him read to our children while I tried to be productive.

I tried to talk on the phone. It was a mildly unsatisfying attempt that involved too many distractions and interruptions. Thankfully it was still fruitful and if we’re being fair, I did get to go to the dentist by myself this morning. One can’t ask for too much in a single day.

I gave thanks that no cooking was needed for dinner tonight. I gave thanks that we made it to dinner. I gave thanks that it was a bath night so I would get to smell fresh heads at bedtime.

I let my fuse get too short when my baby wouldn’t stop crying. I wondered why he wouldn’t settle. Found things to fret about. Wished I could sit down. An hour later all was well. The sun is down now, so the worry doesn’t seem silly yet. Maybe in the morning it will.

The house is still messy. Dinner dishes adorning the table. Four baskets of clean laundry getting wrinkly while they wait. I find myself wondering what sleep will look like tonight. Maybe it will be just enough. Maybe tomorrow will be less foggy. But even if it’s not, on we will go. We will love and wish, laugh and furrow, talk and play and rest, wonder and worry, marvel and thank. It will be another day. Probably a lot like today.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Just a few more things

As it turns out, we have done more in St Louis than have a baby. We have actually done a significant number of really great things! But you'd never know from this here little bloggy-blog, would you?

No you wouldn't. Because life keeps changing, and in order to keep up, my priorities keep changing. I have spent some time over the last few days looking back at our blog and am overcome at how much I love reliving the moments that are recorded here. As my circumstances have changed yet again, I think I am ready to move blogging back up the ranks a bit and get some stories and thoughts down here in my 'free time'. (heh.)

In debating where to begin and what to do next, I decided I'm just going to suck it up and catch up. I just don't think I'll be able to face blogging about today until I feel yesterday has been adequately accounted for.

So. That means there are a few more things to remember from our time in CA. Things that I will enjoy remembering because we were wearing flip flops with rosy cheeks instead of freezing under layers of ice and snow as we are in this very moment. The grass is always greener. Always. But I would by lying if I said I wasn't struggling looking back at photos of sunshine and strawberries. Anyway.

To begin, a few throwback pictures of our little Ash-matash. It is shocking to me how small he was when we moved to CA, and how big he was when we left. SO much growing happens in the first three years. Oh, they keep changing alright, but not in the leaps and bounds they do in the first few years.

We lived in a tiny apartment. So, so tiny. Some days I wanted to poke my eyes out from the tininess. Other days I remembered how it only took an hour tops to clean our whole house with two kids underfoot and loved it for all it was worth. And even though I hated it more than I loved it, I see pictures and get twinges just like I do with other places we've lived that I loved far more. There is always something gained no matter how unidyllic your circumstances are. (The optimism! It is unflinching! It is my super power!)

Our tiny apartment was just a little ways down the road from an awesome enclosed playground. We went there a lot. It was so easy to let the kiddos run, and very rarely crowded. This is a picture of our tiny tot being adorable at that playground and I love him.

 That baby face! It's so much less baby now. It will be even less baby next year. Oh the baby face.

Over the course of the year, both boys worked up the courage to go down the twisty slide. It's a tough one because you can't see the bottom from the top. But, oh yes, they did it. Over and over and over. Orange sunglasses and all.

At this little playground, my children demonstrated that they do not know how to swing. But doing it like this is actually really fun and far less likely to result in injury (At least for my children. That is not a heavily researched claim). They also demonstrated that they do not know the dangers of walking in front of swinging swings holding swingers. Numerous times. Were it not for the danger it posed to the swingers, I would have let them get knocked over so they would remember that this was not a good idea. But, I hear other parents don't like it when people toy with their children's lives to teach their own children a lesson. So there's that.

But, this little nook was really just the best. They spent so much time under there playing all sorts of games and eating rocks and such. Just the best.

When we weren't playing outside, we were playing inside.

We played with our Bob the Builder toys, like the above goggles. Below is the face Asher made every time he asked to have them put on. Be still my heart.

We played with 'da beens' a lot. Still do actually. Throw some beans and construction trucks into a pan and you have endless entertainment! For my boys anyway. (Again, I haven't researched that claim.) Please note: playing with da beens is way more fun when you're wearing your big brother's shoes, too.

We made paper hats because those are fun for the 5 minutes that they last.

We spent far more time than we should have doing unsafe things like this because everything is a toy when you live in a teeny tiny apartment. And that little monkey has grown into a slightly bigger monkey that still does this and more!

There were corners to hide in and mysterious games that only brothers knew about.

We managed to find ways to hurt ourselves (I even had to get stitches in my pinkie finger! Watch out for those butter knives!) and then cheered each other up by taking silly pictures.


You know those little stoppers on the bottom of doors that make that noise when you flick them? Do you think they're awesome? Because my children sure do! Unfortunately for us, they were on every door in our apartment. Until our children broke them off. Fortunately for us, at least two of them could be reattached. Also fortunately for us, most of the time our children forgot about them. Please note: playing with the stoppers is way more fun when you're wearing your big brothers shoes over your pjs.

Even the hallway leading to our apartment provided entertainment. There was an elevator (where our curious children pushed the emergency button SO many times. I hate to think who might be ignored in the case of a real emergency after our stint using this elevator) that taught us about listening and also being aware of other people. Because the boys would do things like the above position of 'hiding' while we waited for it to come and then the door would open and they would faceplant into an unsuspecting resident's crotch. Never a dull moment for us or our neighbors! (Have I mentioned we were the only ones on our floor with children?)

We would play ball in the hallway (during respectable hours of course, this isn't college now, is it), hide in our doorway and wait for Daddy to get home, and even have races or help carry the garbage to the big chute. It amazes me to think about the number of things we found to do even though our apartment was teeny tiny. It also amazes me that people were still nice to us, and even liked us   though our children did ridiculous things.

We found great community inside and outside, which brings me to my next of the 'few more things' - our California friends!